There’s something about the request, and the blog that bothers me. It’s not that I’m unmoved by the possibility that a greater audience of women might read it and feel like they aren’t alone. It’s not that I think the founder behind the blog lacks integrity (something that would encourage me to immediately deny any such request). It’s not that I’m opposed to having a greater exposure for my blog (although, that’s not even in my top 20 reasons for me to write the blog at all), although it looks to me that the Sister Stories blog gives a name and a location, but no links to the people who wrote the stories (there could be links, I did not read more than a reasonable sample of the stories).
Now, I finally realized that it is about integrity for me.
Merriam-Webster defines INTEGRITY as:
- Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values; incorruptibility
- an unimpaired condition; soundness
- the quality or state of being complete or undivided; completeness
It’s very easy to assume when one is talking about integrity that they are speaking about the first definition alone. But integrity is more than that – it also discusses the totality of a person or thing.
My story of assault is only one facet of me. Leaving out the rest of me, having a person (or people) only see that one aspect, and ignore the rest is actually a disservice to me.
I become a sound byte. A statistic. Yet another face in the growing sea of faces of the assaulted for the crime of being a woman.
I am real, a person. I have a past, a present and a future.
All of the people pictured above are me. From the top left:
- Top left – the youngest, perhaps somewhere between the ages of 8-10
- Top right – What I looked like at 13, the summer of my first being assaulted.
- Bottom left – A Glamor Shots attempt to respark sexual interest between myself and my ex-husband (approximately 2010 – 2011)
- Bottom right – Sitting in my den in my sister’s house probably in early spring of this year.
Every woman, every human in this world, has a unique story. We are all much more than just one chapter in the story. And that, my friends, is part of why I find things like “We are Sisters” to be problematical.
While there are many, many reasons and trigger events for why we are all assaulted, there is always going to be one similarity. We are all seen as somehow inferior to our attacker. In some ways, we’re not seen as “real human beings.” We are only tools to our attackers, tools to let them feel something they can’t feel in any other way.
Taking our assaults, our shame, our healing out of context of the rest of our lives turns us into 2-dimensional depictions of ourselves.
I’m not defined by my experiences, I am defined by my reactions and responses to those experiences. I am the only one who can take meaning from those experiences, and apply it to my life. Additionally, that meaning will change as I change and grow as a human being. Because that is what life is about, growth and change.
I would never presume to tell anyone else what to do with their life, their story. I simply wish to be seen as whole, sound and complete – not just flashes of a Hollywood montage.